I’m going to keep tabs on this game in almost real-time. Hopefully this one will break the game diary trend and be competitive into the second half. But by doing a 3/14 game, obviously I am taking my chances.
14:01 – Arizona 10, USU 7 – Turnovers are the story so far with USU point guard David Pak giving it away on three consecutive possessions before getting lifted in favor of backup Chris Huber. Salim Stoudamire and Jaycee Carroll have each connected on one three in two attempts in the matchup of two of the best long-range shooters in the country.
11:31 – USU 12, Arizona 10 – Stoudamire has forced a couple of shots. While USU stays hunkered down in a zone, they do make sure to keep pressure on the ball, regardless of how far Salim drifts away from the arc. Nate Harris, #2 nationally in FG%, has carried USU so far, with six points on four attempts. All-everything Spencer Nelson has looked jittery and spent a about three minutes on the bench so far.
6:43 – Arizona 20, USU 17 – 22 possessions so far, so we’re on pace for about 67 in the game – the average college game has about 69. Shortly before the time out, Tim Brando remarks that the pace is "frenetic." USU coach Stew Morrill puts Pak back in the game, and he has taken good care of the ball since his return. After the commercial break, Brando again talks about the "frenetic" pace.
3:13 – Arizona 24, USU 24 – USU’s last possession eats up about a minute as they rebound consecutive three pointers, and then Pak makes a bomb to tie the game. Still awaiting the first points for Nelson, who badly missed a layup during the last stretch.
0:40 – USU 29, Arizona 26 – Glancing at the other scores, it looks like we will have a 15 seed and two 14s all with half-time leads. Maybe the madness is beginning.
Halftime – USU 29, Arizona 26 – The half ends with a total of 30 possessions, hardly a frenetic pace, and slightly tilted towards the defense. Spencer Nelson has spent a lot of time on the bench, with zero points, two rebounds and no assists. Not the scenario one would envision the Aggies holding a halftime lead. Neither sharpshooter, Carroll or Stoudamire, has been effective. Stoudamire is 1 of 5 on threes, and was stripped by Huber before he could launch one on the last possession of the half.
If USU can keep the 2nd half around 30 possessions, I really like their chances.
14:55 – Arizona 36, USU 31 – A 10-2 run coming out of the half for Arizona. The message from Lute was to attack the basket, and Channing Frye has seven of those points after scoring only four in the first half.
11:50 – Arizona 42, USU 34 – This is the second game I have seen today where CBS has related a team’s offensive drought in terms of possesions, which is encouraging. In this case it was the fact that USU scored only 2 points on its first 11 possessions of the half. A Carroll trey on the 12th possession ends a 14-2 Wildcat run. USU has committed seven fouls in the half, compared to four in the first half, and this is a product of Arizona’s renewed focus on scoring in the paint.
6:52 – Arizona 52, USU 43 – With Shakur on the bench, the Aggies break their drought with an eight point burst in 3 possessions, but the fine tradition of the game diary is continuing with Arizona separating. Nelson has four fouls and two points, and has never been able to get involved in the offense.
2:22 – Arizona 60, USU 46 – The defensive domination by Arizona continues, with a Carroll three the only Aggie points in the last 4:40. Utah State is 6 of 24 from the field in the 2nd half.
Final – Arizona 66, Utah State 53 – Great defensive effort by Arizona in the second half, which was still played at USU’s pace (31 possessions), but the result was lopsided in Arizona’s favor (40-24). With Spencer Nelson a no-show offensively, the Aggies had only one weapon, Jaycee Carroll, and that’s not enough against a well-rounded team like the Wildcats.